According to Election Commission sources, 33.80 percent voting was recorded in the 10 seats by 2 PM. Narkatiaganj Assembly seat witnessed the maximum voting of 43 percent, the EC statement said.
    
Voting percentage was 28 at Rajnagar (SC) seat, Jale (31 percent), Chapra (33 percent), Hajipur (35 percent), Mohiuddinnagar (36 percent), Parbatta (38 percent), Bhagalpur (30 percent), Banka (33 percent) and Mohania (SC) (33.6 percent), the EC statement said.
    
The bypolls are a litmus test for the Lalu-Nitish combine to stage a comeback in Bihar politics which is at present being ruled by the BJP.
    
The outcome of the bypoll, the first major political event after the general elections, is significant as it will show the mood of the people before next year's Assembly polls.
    
Counting of votes will take place on August 25. The bypoll results will also demonstrate if the experiment of reunion of "mandal forces" represented by Lalu Prasad's RJD and Nitish Kumar's JD(U) in the company of Congress has scored a success.
    
Stakes are also high for the BJP-led NDA in the bypoll. Six out of the 10 seats were won by the BJP in the 2010 Assembly election. Moreover, they have the challenge to prove that massive victory in the recent general election was not a fluke.
    
Considering this in mind, the BJP leaders along with its allies LJP and Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party (RLSO) aggressively campaigned for the bypoll.
    
Altogether 94 candidates including 5 women are in the fray. Hajipur has maximum 15 contestants while Banka and Rajnagar (SC) have a minimum of six candidates each.
    
A total of 26,42,407 voters will exercise their franchise in 2,422 booths.
    
Except for Maoist-hit Hajipur, Parbatta and Banka where voting will take place from 7:00 AM to 4.00 PM, in the remaining seven constituencies the duration will be 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
    
No untoward incident has been reported from anywhere so far during the voting which is taking place under tight security.


    
Considering the significance of the by-elections for their political survival, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar have made several trips to the 10 constituencies.
    
Though no big leaders from outside the state campaigned for NDA candidates, state BJP leaders with LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan and ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party of Upendra Kushwaha criss-crossed the state to drum up support.
    
A total of 2,642,407 voters in the 10 constituencies are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 94 candidates, including five women.The 10 constituencies where by-polls are being held are Narkatiaganj, Rajnagar, Jale, Chapra, Hajipur, Mohiuddinnagar, Parbatta, Bhagalpur, Banka, and Mohania.
              
The campaign which ended on Tuesday witnessed acrimony between the alliance of the JD (U), RJD and Congress and the NDA combine. Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar missed no chance to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi for 'hoodwinking' voters in the general elections.
    
Prasad in particular spit venom against friend-turned foe LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan. He dubbed Paswan a 'weather scientist' and 'weathercock'. The LJP chief retorted that Prasad was an 'expert on jails'.

In the last general elections, the BJP-LJP-RLSP alliance decimated RJD, JDU and the Congress. The BJP-LJP-RLSP alliance won 31 seats out of 40 in the state. The RJD-Congress-NCP combine secured victory on seven seats.

The ruling JD (U) managed to win only two seats in comparison to 20 in 2009 in alliance with BJP. The JD (U) had snapped its 17-year long ties with BJP over elevation of Narendra Modi as PM candidate in the saffron camp.

The poor show of both RJD and JD (U) in the general elections forced Lalu and Nitish to join hands in Bihar, creating a new political equation in the state.



However, RJD and JD (U) got approximately 30 percent and 15 percent vote share in the general elections, while BJP-LJP-RLSP alliance received around 38 percent.

 

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